If you’re looking to sell your silver coins, you may be wondering whether you should clean them beforehand. While cleaning your coins may seem like a good idea to make them appear more attractive to potential buyers, it’s important to understand the potential risks and consequences of doing so. Below, the experts from First National Bullion and Coin, San Diego precious metals dealers with years of experience collectors can trust, explore the pros and cons of cleaning your silver coins before selling them and provide some guidance on how to do so safely.
Why Cleaning Silver Coins May Not Be a Good Idea
In general, most coin collectors and dealers prefer silver coins that have their original surface and patina intact. Cleaning silver coins can reduce their numismatic value by damaging their surface and removing their natural toning. Toning is a thin layer of gray, black, or iridescent color that forms on silver coins over time due to exposure to air and chemicals. Some collectors find toning attractive and desirable, especially if it enhances the coin’s design or features. Overcleaning or removing the natural patina of the coin can make it look artificially shiny and lower its value among collectors.
Cleaning silver coins can also make them look unnatural or suspicious. Some unscrupulous sellers may try to clean silver coins to hide defects, alter details, or make them look older or rarer than they are. Professional coin grading companies use strict guidelines to evaluate the condition and value of coins. Cleaning a coin can potentially lower its grade, affecting its overall value and appeal to collectors.
Silver coins that have a significant historical background or are part of a rare collection shouldn’t be cleaned before selling. These coins should retain their original appearance and natural patina, as they provide valuable insights into the coin’s history and the time in which it was minted.
Therefore, if you have rare or valuable silver coins that have numismatic value beyond their metal content, you should avoid cleaning them unless they’re extremely dirty or damaged. Cleaning them may lower their market value and make them harder to sell.
Reasons to Clean Silver Coins before Selling Them
On the other hand, silver coins that are tarnished or dirty may not look as attractive as those that have been cleaned, and important details that may impact their value could be obscured. A clean silver coin can help potential buyers better appreciate its design and overall appearance. A professional cleaning can remove surface dirt and grime, restoring the coin’s original luster and shine.
How to Clean Silver Coins Safely
If you have common or low-value silver coins that have no numismatic value but only metal value, you may decide to clean them before selling them. This may improve their appearance and make them more appealing to buyers who are looking for pure silver bullion.
However, you should still be careful when cleaning silver coins because some methods can be harmful or ineffective. Abrasive cleaning methods or harsh chemicals can scratch, discolor, or remove the surface layer of the coin, permanently damaging it. Below are some safe ways to clean silver coins without damaging them.
Easy Cleaning with Distilled Water & Soap
One way to effectively clean silver coins is by using hot water and soap. First, fill a container with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap. Gently place the coins in the container and leave them to soak for a few hours, turning them over every hour or so. This method can help remove dirt and grease from the coin’s surface.
After soaking the coins, rinse them with distilled water. Tap water contains chlorine that can lead to discoloration. Pat the coins dry with a paper towel or leave them on an absorbent cloth to air dry. Avoid rubbing the coins, as this can scratch through the toning.
Using Lemon Juice & Olive Oil to Remove Tarnish
Lemon juice and olive oil can effectively clean silver coins by removing tarnish and revealing a shiny surface. First, combine equal parts distilled water and lemon juice in a container. Then place your silver coins in the container and let them soak for an hour. After they’ve soaked, remove the coins and dispose of the lemon solution.
Next, mix equal parts olive oil and lemon juice in another container. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and gently rub it on each coin. This will polish the coin and remove any remaining tarnish. Finally, rinse the coins with distilled water and dry them with a soft cloth.
Consulting a Professional First
When selling silver coins, it’s crucial to consult with a reputable coin dealer or appraiser to determine the best course of action. The individual can evaluate the coins’ condition, historical significance, and potential value and provide advice on whether to clean the coins before selling them. In the end, the decision about whether to clean silver coins before selling them should be based on careful consideration of their historical value, rarity, and condition as well as the potential impact on their value and appeal to potential buyers.
Whether they’re looking for expert advice on taking care of their precious metals or they want to buy silver bullion, San Diego residents should work with trustworthy precious metals dealers who offer high-quality service and have years of experience. Call on the industry-leading professionals at First National Bullion when you’re ready to invest in precious metals, including silver, gold, platinum, and palladium. Give us a call today at (858) 304-7580.
The statements made in this blog are opinions, and past performance is not indicative of future returns. Precious metals, like all investments, carry risk. Precious metals and coins may appreciate, depreciate, or stay the same in cash value depending on a variety of factors. First National Bullion does not guarantee, and its website and employees make no representation, that any metals for sale will appreciate sufficiently to earn the customers a profit. The decision to buy, sell, or borrow precious metals and which precious metals to purchase, borrow, or sell are made at the customer’s sole discretion.